Monday, July 19, 2010

On Unexpected Expenses

My wallet sure is getting a workout this summer, what with health-related expenses, moving expenses, and just regular day-to-day and maintenance expenses.

Thankfully, I think I've purchased all the stuff on my "NEED" list for my move by now. Those were all more or less within the budget, although it's amazing how expensive things like kettles, placemats and cooking utensils can be. I mean, it's really nothing amazing! Just shaped metal or plastic, or stitched fabric. Sometimes, I miss the good old days of asking your neighbours to craft you what you needed in exchange for your professional services. "Le troc", as we learned in elementary school, totally needs to make a comeback.

A few weeks ago, I had my regularly scheduled dental cleaning - and we had to get a little preventative work done. Ka-ching! Add to that the cost of all my recent physiotherapy appointments, and we've got ka-ching! ka-ching! ka-ching!

In other unexpected expenses, there's the moving truck rental. I'm not talking giant corporate truck with professional movers. I'm talking Ryder, Budget, or U-Haul. In my case, we're going with U-Haul due to availability and convenience, but all those prices rang up to approximately $300. Insane!! I did not plan on such an "expensive" move, though having moved before, I really should have remembered the cost. Ka-ching!

I also had to purchase a new cellphone. The Pearl on my first-generation Blackberry Pearl stopped scrolling up Saturday, and since this has happened before (though in other directions), I knew that a quick Q-tip scrub could clean it up and get it scrolling again in no time. Unfortunately, I was away from home (and Q-tips!) all day. By Sunday, after a few scrubbing attempts, I decided to stop in to the Telus store. They popped-up the pearl and tried to clean it rather than making me purchase a new one ($7... not sure if that's a good deal or not!) but the pearl stopped working altogether. It could now scroll in most directions but wasn't clicking. Or was automatically clicking. Either way, it wasn't going to work for me! Luckily, my Telus contract was expiring in less than 2 weeks so I had a few offers on my account, so I sprung for... the Blackberry Bold with 3G. That's right! I finally made up my mind between iPhone and BB and stuck with the crackberry. What can I say? I'm addicted! The phone wasn't entirely free, though, so ring up another "ka-ching!" there.

And on Monday, I will be going in for a much needed, finally prescribed MRI for my knee. I've got a pretty good insurance plan - thank you, Concordia! - so by getting it done at a particular clinic in Montreal, I can ensure that up to $300 of the cost will be covered (minus previous claim payouts). That means I've still got another $354 + taxes to cover. And this, folks, is why paying your insurance premium every month is worth it. Still... Ka-ching!

For those of you keeping track, that's a whole lot of "ka-ching"s, and I've got a few more move-associated ones to ring up: pantry stocking, cleaning supplies, school fees... So, I'm pretty close to being broke - because I refused to dig in to my savings (for now). At least I know I've got a few paychecks coming in!

How do you deal with unexpected expenses? Do you have a "just in case" fund? Insurance? Rich parents and/or friends who don't mind paying for your night on the town?

Share your secrets, folks! And stay tuned for more move- and knee-related updates!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

On Moving Forward

I know, I know... Long time no blog!

First off, a quick round-up: My trip to Toronto during the G8/G20 Summits was pretty uneventful. I didn't get arrested, I wasn't disturbed by the security perimeter and I stayed far away from the protesters.

Yes, the protests did prevent family dinner plans from happening but my alternate dinner scenario was just as yummy, and the family dinner simply got postponed since it was raining anyway. Yes, a bona fide raincheck! Overall, I had a great time, from the Jays pounding the Cards, to my solo walking tour of Chinatown and Kensington Market and my mall day(s), to the huge wedding I attended over the weekend.

Once the Summit was over and done with, I walked around the areas I'd seen on TV and heard about in news reports and via the Twitter coverage of Saturday's protest.I thought it was really cool to visualize the trauma spots after the fact. It helped put things in perspective, even for the areas I was previously familiar with.

When I got home, I went straight into "moving mode", sorting through storage bins, leafing through pamphlets and searching for products online. And then came the buying. After just over one week of nearly daily purchasing, I think I'm done. Well... Except for those two raincheck items I need to keep an eye on. Otherwise, I think my credit cards are going to get a well-deserved break.

Now, it's time to seriously start packing and sorting. No more excuses!! I've had moving boxes - and packing paper! - for a few weeks now, courtesy of a friend who'd used them previously, and those boxes aren't gonna build themselves! Of course, that's the easy part. The part that's taking forever - and causing me quite a bit of anxiety - is going through all my stuff.

I'm not the kind of person who accumulates stuff but I tend to keep things... press passes, ticket stubs, books from my childhood and that hair elastic I bought for that outfit I don't have anymore. I'm pretty good at getting rid of clothes but anything that holds knowledge - like my old journals, school work and art - is really hard for me to get rid of. The creative items especially, because they feel like an integral part of "me".

Plus, last time I moved, I just took all my stuff and brought it home. So those storage containers are in dire need of a "sort, donate, throw" regimen. Slowly but surely, I'm sure I'll get it all done. I do have another month and a half to get through it! Well, minus my 2 weeks of full-time work just prior to the move in August. Four weeks is totally doable though, right?

Oh boy, here comes the anxiety again... Who knew moving forward with life could be so stressful!?!